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Courts handle holiday child custody and visitation orders

Nebraska, like other states, tries to encourage the inclusion of child custody and visitation provisions into the written property division and separation agreements or stipulations that are used to resolve a contested divorce. That practice helps to formalize the agreements that the parties have negotiated regarding their minor children. These provisions, in addition to stating the nature of the child custody arrangement, will also preferably include specific provisions about visitations, including visitation schedules for the major holiday periods during the year.

This time of the year, of course, it is the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays that are relevant. For those parents who have not progressed far enough to hammer out the details of holiday visitation, some unexpected stress may develop when the parties realize that they are not in agreement about what times each parent will have with the children. This leads to many appearances in front of family law judges during the week prior to each major holiday.

The first level of activity, however, will be the attempt to avoid family law court by a negotiating process between the parties, conducted through their respective attorneys. This is sometimes an intensive procedure for all parties, including the attorneys, because vital pre-holiday time is taken up discussing, and sometimes vehemently arguing, about some very specific details regarding arrival times, transportation methods and the like. If it works, however, the parties may be spared an appearance in court, if they can be trusted to live up to the negotiated terms.

If the parties are especially steamed at each other, the attorneys may require that the new terms be finalized by the judge before the holiday, and will set a date and time for family law motions to be presented in court. In Nebraska and elsewhere, this is the best way to formalize new terms to the parties, because being in the presence of the court is often sobering enough for each parent to realize that the agreed terms must be obeyed. If there is no pre-holiday appearance before the court, the child custody and visitation terms will nonetheless be submitted to the court for formalization as a court order stipulated to by the parties and the attorneys. 

Source: silive.com, "For some kids, 'tis the season to be caught in the middle", Daniel Leddy, Dec. 8, 2017

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